Should you stage your resource consent?

There’s definiltey a lot to think about with land development and resource consents. The way your resource consent is structured can have a big impact on how the development on the ground proceeds and the ease of your development experience. In this blog we take a look at staging, which can be very helpful in managing the implementation of your resource consent.


What is staging?

Staging, in resource consent terms, allows you to implement part of the consent at a time rather than implementing the entire application at once. This can allow you to complete part of your development, and potentially sell it or get further funding.


Resource consents don’t automatically include staging; you need to apply for it as part of your resource consent application. Its also important to realise that even with a staged resource consent, the default time to implement the overall consent is still 5 years. If you will need more time than this to fully implement the resource consent, you will need to seek an extended timeframe as part of your resource consent application.


Do you need your resource consent to include staging?

Not every development will need staging, and this is something you should discuss with your planner. Issues to consider include:


  • The scale of the development and the cost of works involved. There may be no real benefits in staging a smaller development. The cost of works is a big factor- if you need funding, speak to your advisor about when you can get that funding in relation to how much of the works have been completed.

  • Will you need to sell some early stages to fund the works required in later stages? Can you afford to do all the works at once?

  • Timing: some works can only occur at certain times and this impacts when some stages can realistically be completed. For example, vegetation removal may be impacted by bird breeding seasons, earthworks may be restricted to summer months, or earthworks for building platforms may need geotechnical monitoring over a year or more if the stability is marginal.

  • If your application requires vesting of land for roads, utility reserves or esplanade reserves how would these vesting in an early stage impact on development of later stages? For example, do you need access to these areas for construction? Do you need to install services for later stages through this land? Losing ownership of this land can be problematic in some situations and may mean that you require landowner approval from Auckland Council or Auckland Transport. This can add uncertainty and time delays.

  • Selling land in an earlier stage can create similar issues. In addition, will construction works inconvenience these new owners or impact on their amenity? You may end up needing to change construction plans or methods to alleviate complaints from the new owners. The potential for this can be reduced by having upfront conversations with potential owners at the sale and purchase stage, and being clear on the works yet to be undertaken. People can then plan accordingly.


If you want to include staging in your resource consent application, speak to your planner about what each stage could include. This will help you avoid some of the issues noted above, and make sure your finances will stack up at each stage.



What works need to occur and when?

Essentially, all the resource consent conditions related to the specific stage must be complied with as part of that stage of works. Sometimes consent conditions are set out in the specific stages. More often however, the resource consent conditions are in one set, and you must identify what needs to be complied with in each stage. You should discuss with your planner the conditions requiring compliance for each stage and schedule the plans, works and assessments accordingly.


Each dwelling or site needs to have at least access, services and a suitable building platform. This could mean compliance with conditions related to:


  • Engineering Plans Approval (EPA Process),

  • Approval from Auckland Transport for any crossings,

  • Forming and vesting roads,

  • Forming crossings and rights of ways or jointly owned access lots,

  • Installing and vesting services,

  • Making connections to services for each site/ dwelling (including power and telephone),

  • Undertaking earthworks, retaining etc to create a suitable building platform,

  • Certification from specialists related to the above.


If your application is land- use led (i.e., it has a land use component and then subdivision based on this land use) you will have to implement the land use aspects before the subdivision can be completed, and this will likely include building the dwellings. This has financial implications that you need to be aware from the outset.


What does the Council need for a staged resource consent?

With a staged resource consent, it’s important to clearly demonstrate to the Council how conditions for each stage have been met. When each stage is implemented, one of your specialists (often your Surveyor or Engineer) should provide a formal letter detailing each condition related to the stage, and how that condition has been complied with. This will usually be provided to your allocated Monitoring Officer, who will provide confirmation of acceptance.


If your resource consent is for subdivision, you will need approval for each stage under s223 RMA and s224 RMA. You can find out more about these processes here. This allows you to complete each stage separately and sell the dwellings and/ or sites.


Is staging for you?

The need for and type of staging varies for each project. If you’d like to discuss your project with our resource consent specialists, get in contact. You can contact us on hello@planningplus.co.nz or (09) 427 9966.


Disclaimer

As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.